beat (on) electric drums


Senior Member
During visit with 13-year-old cancer patient Lawrence Garcia, Mammen encourages Garcia to beat on electric drums while he plays the guitar.

I wonder why the above uses "beat on" rather than just "beat electric drums." Are they both acceptable and about the same? Thanks.
  • english-canadian
    When you say someone "beats the drums", it sounds like they have more skill than if you say they "beat on the drums." A skilled drummer will beat the drums, a child will beat on the drums.


    Senior Member
    American English
    Beat or beat on both sound pretty tuneless to me. :) If you ask someone what instrument they play, they would say "Drums." So I might change the sentence like this to avoid two occurrences of "play":

    Mammen encourages Garcia to play the electric drums along with the guitar.
    Mammen encourages Garcia to play the electric drums to accompany his guitar.

    I'm now going to try to imagine how someone is going to play the drums and guitar simultaneously. The poor kid has enough challenges as it is. :)